GABY HAMELIN - DRAWING WORKSHOP
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ABOUT THE ARTIST

 
     
 
Chaton
Figure 1
In 1988, I was 13 years old. I used my fingers to shade off, and worked on regular white paper. I only used a yellow HB school pencil.

Artist’s Biography

 

I was born in 1975 in the lovely Ottawa region, in the city of Gatineau. Born of a painter-artist and seamstress mother, I’ve always lived in an artistic environment. Well beyond my deepest childhood memories, I drew. In the days when I first started drawing, I took pleasure in reproducing images from my storybooks. I was very proud then just to be able to reliably reproduce the outlines. At the beginning of adolescence, I wanted to add more dimension to my drawings (Figure 1). I always worked from reference photos, but I decided to try to add some shadows and lights to give a various dimension to my works.

 

Chaton
Figure 2
Mes outardes , 1991 I’m now 16 years old and am using a greater variety of grade pencils. However, I still use my fingers to shade off, and sometimes paper tissues.

My interest for drawing grew from year to year and I reached a point where I wanted to give even more depth to my work. I decided to invest more time to improve my drawings when I was in the Arts concentration program in high school. I thus decided to invest more time to perfect my drawings when I had a freestyle drawing to do for homework. I studied then in high school, in Arts concentration. I still worked and always from reference images, but I was resolved to put the possible maximum of details in my drawings (Figure 2). I drew every strand of grass, every bird’s feather, with as much passion as I could. This fervour carried its fruits in a point such as my professor of arts in the time had refused to correct me under pretext that it was not me who had made the drawing. I moreover have to admit that I was very proud of my drawing myself.

Chaton
Figure 3
My first portrait, 1997 At that time, I used stumps and a wide variety of graphite pencils (from 6H to 8B).

For several years, I was passionate about animals, these being the exclusive subjects in my drawings. That is until one day, a colleague at work asked me if I wanted to do a portrait of his little girl (Figure 3). It is then that I started doing portrait, without any theoretical or technical knowledge. All I was doing was reproducing what I saw in the picture.

Chaton
Figure 4
Mon autoportrait, 1999

I am a self-taught artist due to the lack of resources. In other words, I met no artist of my region who was capable of answering the objectives of apprenticeship that I had settled in quality of image. Nobody seemed to teach a technique of drawing similar to the one that I put into practice today. It is thus in this period, in the beginning of adulthood, that I decided to invest myself into it totally. My passion for the portrait, and of my envy to deepen it, originated in Christmas 1999, when my parents offered me the book of Lee Hammond: "How to Draw Lifelike Portraits from Photographs". From the technique proposed in this book, I could draw my self-portrait in 4 hours (Figure 4). I then noticed in my drawings much more softness and realism than in my previous drawings.

Chaton
Figure 5
« Saku Koïvu », 2007 Drawing I made voluntarily that was sold to the « Gouverneurs de l'Espoir », an organization that helps sick children.

I then pursued my readings and I began to put into practice what I was discovering in my books. I referred a lot to the work of European and American artists for whom I had great admiration. I think of Lee Hammond, J.D. Hillberry and Mike Sibley, to name a few. They were my mentors. They had attention to detail and perfectionism to which I aspired. For a number of years I worked at developing and improving my own techniques using only graphite pencils. I also added to my toolbox many different new accessories: tortillons and stumps, kneadable eraser, a retractable eraser and a wider variety of graphite grades. Today, I invest between 40 and 150 hours in each of my drawing and I rarely work in a format larger than 16X20. I became an unconditional detail lover .

 

Chaton
Figure 6
In my studio, during class

In 2003, I had the desire to share my passion and knowledge with other people who, like me, wanted to put into practice a more advanced drawing technique. I felt a great need to give to other artists what I would have liked to received in terms of training. So I opened up my own studio and started teaching drawing classes. Still today, I offer personalized lessons where one can progress at his or her own pace, in accordance to his or her preferences. During classes, there is an atmosphere of calm and relaxation in the studio; important characteristics allowing artists to let-go (Figure 6).

Chaton
Figure 7
« Paysage Zen », 2009 This is my own creation. All of this existed in my mind, until it took a life of its own on paper. I used several pictures allowing me to analyze all aspects of each subject entering in my composition. When I understood the structure of each, I was able to lay them on paper as I saw them in my mind, keeping in mind the texture, softness and overall realism effect.

For many years, I took part in several art exhibits. I also worked as artist for companies which offered to their employees which retired a drawing portrait of them in their working environment. Furthermore, many people called upon my services to immortalize a loved one or a special event through my drawings. However, as the artist and the professor in me are constantly evolving, the desire to transmit my knowledge and passion surpassed the desire to do commissions.

In July of 2009, I participated to a weekend workshop given by Mike Sibley in New York. It was for me a memorable experience and another turning point in my career as an artist and drawing teacher. I felt the desire to transmit my passion and knowledge in a more vast territory than the Ottawa region. Consequently, I am now investing my time and positive energy in setting up weekend workshops on different topics, such as folds and texture in fabrics (satin, jeans, ratine, etc.), faces, landscapes, animals and other topics based on demand. I plan on going to different regions of Quebec (Canada) and potentially, going outside my province of birth where the demand is important enough.